All in the family: Century farms buck consolidation trend

By Joe Stumpe | February 1, 2023

Margaret and Larry Goering plan to turn their Harvey County farm over to their grandson, Jacob.

NEWTON — As Margaret Goering watches her husband, Larry, amble across their barnyard in boots, jeans and John Deere ballcap pulled low, she knows he’s right where he wants to be.

“He’s an outdoor farm person,” she said of her husband. “As long as he’s physically able, he’s going to farm.”

“Well,” Larry, 77, said, “you just get it in your blood.”

That’s no exaggeration. Five generations of Goerings have farmed east of Newton in Harvey County, and a sixth is getting ready to take over. 

The Goerings’ property is recognized as a “Century Farm” by the Kansas Farm Bureau, a designation that is awarded to farms of at least 80 acres that have been in the same family at least 100 years. Harvey County has 55 Century Farms, Sedgwick County 53 and Butler County 33.

The first of Larry Goering’s ancestors to settle on the farm was his great-great grandfather, Carl Heinrich Tangeman, who was born in 1821. A blacksmith in Prussia, Tangemen fled the country to avoid being drafted into its army a second time. Intending to join two brothers who were already in New York City, Tangeman instead saw his ship blown so far off course in a storm that it ended up landing in New Orleans. After his wife and two small children died of smallpox, he managed to reunite with his brothers, then moved west to farm in Ohio for 32 years. A cousin of Larry’s found Tangeman’s tale so dramatic that she turned it into two historical novels.

Courtesy photo
Descendants of Carl Heinrich Tangeman, center front, still farm the Harvey County land he acquired in 1879. Tangeman divided it between his nine children.

In 1879, Tangeman sent his eldest son to Kansas looking for cheaper land. That son — Paul George Tangeman — got off the train in Newton and bought 80 acres with his father’s money. The next year, Carl, who had remarried, arrived with his wife and eight remaining children.

“They built the barn first and lived in it a year or two while they built the house,” Goering said. The house stood until tornado damage claimed it in the early 1960s.

Although eldest sons typically inherited their family’s land, Tangeman and his second wife decided to divide theirs equally among their six boys and three girls. Tangeman acquired enough to give all of them 80 acres in the same township section.

Larry Goering is descended from Tangeman’s second son. Goering said none of his siblings were interested in farming, while he knew from a young age that he wanted to. Today, the Goerings and their son, Kevin, own 1,000 acres in the township, renting some of it to other farmers. When he was acquiring land, Goering said, “I was looked at like you are an idiot” for paying $300 per acre. Last year, the average value of Kansas farmland was $2,630 per acre.

The farm has gone through several manifestations through the decades. Goering’s grandfather raised Shetland ponies there for sale to lawyers, bankers and other well-heeled residents of Newton.

“They all wanted ponies for their kids to ride up and down Main Street in Newton,” Goering said.

His parents operated it as a dairy farm, hauling milk cans to the old Steffen Dairy in Wichita. That ended after a tornado took down the silos. When he took over the farm, Goering focused on raising wheat, milo and soybeans. He added hogs to the mix for a few years and raises beef cattle today along with crops.

Unpredictable weather, bad harvests, competition from large growers and fluctuating commodity prices influenced by numerous factors prove a constant challenge.

Or, as Goering puts it, “Figuring out how to make the income match expenses and have a little left over.”

“In the eighties was when a lot of farmers gave up,” he said. “They couldn’t make the payments.” With the price of land today, Larry said, it’s impossible for somebody to buy land solely with income from a farm. Instead, much land is owned by investor landlords who lease it to farmers, most of whom have other jobs for health insurance and additional income.

Larry taught vocational agriculture for 38 years at high schools in Marion, Moundridge and Newton, often hiring students to help on the farm. Margaret worked for the Harvey County Health Department after the couple’s children were grown, making home visits and checking on child care operators.

The physical nature of farming — which for the Goerings includes maintaining tractors and combines in their own shop — isn’t seen as a negative. “There were a couple times I came home (from teaching), farmed all night and went back and taught school,” Larry said. “The kids didn’t know I’d been up all night. It didn’t happen much, maybe three times.”

Margaret, who grew up on a farm in northeast Kansas and met her husband at Kansas State University, hauled grain to Newton and helped with other farm chores when their children were young. She even tried her hand on a tractor one year, but after some crop rows came up crooked, she said, “They don’t have me plant wheat anymore.”

“She keeps the books, pays the bills, asks where the next check is coming from,” Larry said. “And feeds people.”

Kevin Goering works as a design engineer for John Deere in southeast Iowa but returns here regularly to help farm. Larry remembers him taking apart a toy tractor as a toddler to see how it worked.

Century Farm such as the Goerings’ are likely to become rarer in the future due to the growth of large-scale farms. Kansas’ most recent agriculture census, completed in 2017, counted 58,569 farms that year, compared to 68,579 in 1987. Over the same period, the number of farms of 2,000 acres or more grew from 5,056 to 6,447. 

Unlike many farm families, however, the Goerings have a plan for keeping their farm in the family for at least another generation: their grandson, 20-year-old Jacob, will eventually take it over when they go to live with a daughter near Hillsboro.

Jacob, asked when he knew he wanted to farm, shrugged and said, “It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Margaret notes with pride that Jacob’s sisters can operate a tractor and combine and that Jacob “knows how to run everything on this farm.”

“It’s a great place to raise kids,” Margaret said of the farm. “They learn responsibility. They have chores, and they learn to appreciate life.” 

List of all Century Farms in Butler, Sedgwick and Harvey counties.
Year added to Century Farm List


Year farm purchased
Butler David R. & Betty Corbin 1869
2000 Butler Robert N. Diller 1872
2008 Butler Robert L. & L. Donnese Harsh 1872
2010 Butler Dr. Luman A. Harper, Mercy N. Harper, Flora E. Harper, Susie H. Snodgrass, Elizabeth A. Snodgrass 1873
2003 Butler Patrick Regier 1876
2000 Butler Mary Millbourn Stackley and Arlan & David Stackley 1878
2009 Butler The Benson Farm – Greg Scott Wiley` 1878
2002 Butler Paul Stephens 1879
2019 Butler David W. and Dixie J. Curry 1879
2018 Butler Harvey Blair, Zach Blair 1880
2004 Butler James & Loriene Brewer 1881
2001 Butler James & Opal Nuttle 1883
2005 Butler Richard S. & Margaret E. Wiebe 1884
2004 Butler Alvin & Katherine Claassen 1891
2007 Butler Richard & Glenda Harder 1891
2000 Butler Virginia M. Sluss 1892
2002 Butler Elwood Zuercher 1892
2005 Butler Olen F. & Juanita P. Deichman 1894
2008 Butler Olen F. Deichman and Ronnie K. Deichman 1894
2002 Butler Robert Wilson 1898
2008 Butler Lyle & Shirley Gray 1898
2008 Butler Larry & Deborah Gray 1898
2010 Butler Eldon & Debbie Marshall 1899
2001 Butler Harold & Sandy Cooper 1900
2002 Butler Delbert Varner 1900
2013 Butler Marilyn Vestring Hein and Victoria (Vicki) Vestring Weldon 1900
2014 Butler Frank & Elsie Brown, Byron Brown, Raymond E. & Catherine Brown, Mark and David Brown 1902
2006 Butler J. Larry & Judith L. Jackson 1906
2007 Butler Cecil Faulconer, Vernon Faulconer & Don Faulconer 1906
2008 Butler Richard J. Chase and Faralane Chase 1907
2015 Butler Thomas & Sarah C. Dixon Charles T. & Mary E. Dixon Charles R. Dixon 1907
2010 Butler Edwin F & Susie H. Snodgrass, Philip H. & Mary M. Snodgrass, Elizabeth A. Snodgrass, Almira S. Slusser and Glen E. Snodgrass 1908
2016 Butler Elizabeth Parsons 1909
2015 Butler Martha Ann Wakefield 1911
2014 Butler Zack G. & Jean H. Wilkerson 1912
2009 Butler Velma Fay Meyersick Homestead
2009 Harvey LuJean Graybill, Allen L. Short, Jerry M. Short, Philip D. Short 1872
2004 Harvey Kent D. & Myrla Cole Haury 1874
2013 Harvey Randy and Janie Ediger 1874
2004 Harvey Louvina M. (Regier) & Herman C. Miller 1876
2000 Harvey R. Dwight & Connie J. Claassen 1877
2011 Harvey Robert Dean Suderman, Jr. 1877
2001 Harvey Elda Gatz 1879
2001 Harvey Anabel & James Downey 1880
2001 Harvey Stella Miller 1880
2000 Harvey Melvin O’Keefe 1881
2000 Harvey Shirley Wilson Sheffler, Arlene Wilson Smith & Marjorie Wilson 1882
2001 Harvey Wilbur Prouty 1882
2001 Harvey Thomas Veazey 1882
2004 Harvey Shawn & Kristin Wiebe 1882
2000 Harvey Phillip Eugene Wendling 1883
2000 Harvey James R. Lohrenz 1884
2003 Harvey Portia Blair Terry 1884
2000 Harvey George R. TenEyck 1885
2005 Harvey James and Geneva Chapple 1885
2007 Harvey Wesley and Amy Chapple 1885
2000 Harvey Milton C. Boyle 1886
2021 Harvey Dean & Rita Patterson, Doug & Janene Patterson, Josh & Bethany Patterson, Austin & Deanna Lanier 1888
2015 Harvey Kenneth Regier 1889
2000 Harvey James & Freida Everley 1891
2000 Harvey Clarence Shirk 1891
2001 Harvey Darleen Schrag Bartell 1891
2001 Harvey Donald & Harriet Hiebert 1893
2004 Harvey The Chalmer J. Paulson Family 1895
2001 Harvey Irvin Dey 1896
2004 Harvey Leon & Lavon Black 1896
2001 Harvey Larry & Margaret Goering 1897
2000 Harvey Charles A. Koerner 1898
2000 Harvey Don Joe McGinn 1898
2000 Harvey Mr. & Mrs. Fred Schlender 1898
2004 Harvey Gary & Linda Harms 1898
2009 Harvey Janzen Family Farms – John Janzen, David Janzen, Sara Janzen Regier 1898
2000 Harvey Rita Schlagowsky 1899
2000 Harvey Neal & Sheila Williams and Robert & LaVeta Williams 1900
2004 Harvey Terry & Dana Knott 1900
2019 Harvey Charles and Dora Unruh Family Land Trust 1900
2004 Harvey Willard & Edna Entz-Larry & Carol Entz 1901
2002 Harvey David Oursler 1902
2009 Harvey LuJean Graybill, Allen L. Short, Jerry M. Short, Philip D. Short 1902
2005 Harvey Tom & Linda Klaassen 1903
2008 Harvey Howard & Eldred Schroeder 1908
2013 Harvey Pat & Bonnie Wendling and Norma Wendling 1911
2015 Harvey Judith & Dana Shifflett 1911
2014 Harvey Fred H. Weber Jr. & Mrs. Laura J. Weber 1914
2015 Harvey Shaun, Kaitlen, Kalyn & Megan Ortman 1915
2021 Harvey Norman and Barbara Roux 1915
2017 Harvey Carol Penner, Roberta Paulsen and Naomi Androes 1916
2018 Harvey Allen & Elaine Patterson 1917
2018 Harvey James & Debbie Nightingale 1918
2020 Harvey Mike, Carol & Austin Hiebert 1918
2004 Harvey Norman & Lottie Hand 1995
2000 Sedgwick Kathleen Virginia Olmstead Goble 1873
2016 Sedgwick Hugh E. Williamson 1874
2000 Sedgwick Joe & Evelyn Armour 1875
2003 Sedgwick Larry Carter 1875
2008 Sedgwick Vera Kathleen Schesser 1878
2002 Sedgwick Carl Humbolt 1880
2000 Sedgwick Herman Tjaden Jr. 1882  
2002 Sedgwick Philip Dosien 1882  
2004 Sedgwick Calvin E. Kissick 1882  
2009 Sedgwick Gerald L. Lonnon and Marcus & Caraleta (Lonnon) Huslig 1884  
2019 Sedgwick Leland and Dorothy Bengtson 1888  
2011 Sedgwick Henry W Robben 1889  
2021 Sedgwick Leland and Dorothy Bengtson 1890  
2000 Sedgwick W. Dean & Brenda J. Lorenz 1891  
2007 Sedgwick John Gorges 1892  
2020 Sedgwick Marvin Jelinek 1892  
2000 Sedgwick Wanda L. Miller 1893  
2000 Sedgwick John W. Struthers 1893  
2000 Sedgwick Patrick & Jane Matson 1894  
2021 Sedgwick Jonas and Tiffany Struthers 1894  
2001 Sedgwick Duane & Bella Sanders 1895  
2000 Sedgwick Mrs. Eldor (Kay) Wulf 1896  
2002 Sedgwick Martin Koster 1898  
2000 Sedgwick Betty (Korber) Ziegler 1899  
2001 Sedgwick Raymond Rosenhagen 1899  
2003 Sedgwick Keith & Lela Albright 1899  
2009 Sedgwick Beverly A. (Goodson) Baker, Kristin K. (Goodson) Thiessen, Kara S. (Goodson) Nice and daughters 1899  
2003 Sedgwick Clair & Eleanor Evans 1900  
2003 Sedgwick Norma & John Ulbrich 1900  
2010 Sedgwick Leon & Denise Seiwert 1900  
2003 Sedgwick John & Barbara Hahn 1901  
2004 Sedgwick Roger & Patricia Bunck 1901  
2019 Sedgwick Michael J. McGinn 1901  
2002 Sedgwick George Bowman 1902  
2003 Sedgwick Mildred Mitchell 1903  
2012 Sedgwick James & Judi Sharp 1903  
2019 Sedgwick Leland and Dorothy Bengtson 1904  
2020 Sedgwick Metzinger Family 1905  
2010 Sedgwick Max Tjaden Family 1907  
2010 Sedgwick Louis J. Sittler and Alice J. Sittler 1909  
2014 Sedgwick Mrs. Robert J. Clark, Family Farm 1909  
2020 Sedgwick Alice Fern Templeton 1909  
2010 Sedgwick Robert & Ruth Curless 1910  
2012 Sedgwick Young and Sons Farms 1910  
2011 Sedgwick Maurine & Raymond Holt, Dan Holt, Ranine Bedwell and Marianne Slagle 1911  
2019 Sedgwick Aaron R. Mark 1919  
2019 Sedgwick Kent T. and Susan M. Winter 1919  
2000 Sedgwick Versa M. Nigg *  
2017 Sedgwick Melvin R. Woolf and Allen R. Woolf 1886  
2017 Sedgwick Richard Basore 1901  
2017 Sedgwick Richard and Patti Pelz 1915  
2022 Sedgwick Joshua and Loni Moyer 1890  
2022 Sedgwick James R. Wright, Douglas L. Wright, Nancy K. Gilchrist, William R. Wright 1905  
 The Kansas Farm Bureau is accepting applications for its 2023 Century Farm program. Details for qualification and applications are available at county Farm Bureau offices and at